Financial Literacy Provides Boost for Our Heroes

NEWS // October 1, 2015

Financial Literacy Provides Boost for Our Heroes

The San Diego Financial Literacy Center (SDFLC) educates and empowers individuals and families to make sound financial decisions and develop positive personal finance habits for life. Their three core financial literacy programs focus on helping low-to-moderate income residents, as well as youth and the military, become self-sufficient.

One of SDFLC’s programs, called Boost for Our Heroes, was established in an effort to help the military community become one of San Diego’s most financially literate populations. The program provides a variety of workshops, outreach efforts, and one-on-one consultations with collaborative partners to help active and veteran military personnel become financially stable.

Military members and their families are an integral part of our communities. The SDFLC estimates there are close to 800,000 active duty and veteran military personnel and their families living in San Diego County and that having a more financially fit military population will benefit our region as a whole.

In addition to providing financial education and outreach, the SDFLC provides one service member and/or a military family their Boost for Our Heroes award. Each quarter, an impartial panel selects one program participant to be awarded with a $3,000 “boost” due to a financial hardship. As of the end of the third quarter, SDFLC has awarded $21,000 in Boost awards.  

A recent award recipient was Rachel Chapman and her family. Chapman is an active duty Navy Chief and her husband, Cole, a Navy veteran.  While Mrs. Chapman was on deployment with the USS Independence, Mr. Chapman got into an accident while traveling home from school.

“As he merged his motorcycle onto the 8 East, a driver drove Cole off the freeway and into a curb and changed all of our lives forever,” said Ms. Chapman.  “The guardrail took one of his legs and destroyed the other.”

The Chapmans were forced to move and dramatically change their lives.  Financially, they were struggling and becoming overburdened with medical debt and needed assistance to help get them back on track to self-sufficiency. For most families this would be considered a terrible tragedy, but Mr. Chapman took a different approach that inspired both SDFLC and his family.

“Most awe-inspiring is Cole himself,” gushed Ms. Chapman.  “Not once has he complained, or struck out, or raged that this would happen to him.”

Through several one-on-one financial counseling sessions with the SDFLC, a financial road map started to evolve.  In addition, SDFLC reached out to community partners, including Miramar Federal Credit Union and National University, who were quick to offer support programs when they heard the Chapmans’ story. Now the Chapmans are working their way towards a financial life that is more secure and free of the stresses of debt.

SDFLC helps families thrive in San Diego County.  By focusing on the four pillars of financial literacy – personal finance, housing, education and employment – SDFLC strives to make a difference in our region to ensure that one day San Diego becomes America’s Finest Financially Literate City.